The southern Italian province of Puglia launched the initiative to build a pipeline under the Adriatic Sea to bring water from Albania’s Gjirokaster county. Puglia sees it as a solution for droughts, which have been especially severe in recent years and are a serious threat, considering climate change.
The water pipeline was proposed by Sergio Fontana, president of business associations Confindustria Puglia and Confindustria Albania, which represents Italian firms in Albania, Corriere della Sera reported. Michele Emiliano, president of the Puglia region, recently wrote to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama about the EUR 1 billion plan.
Fontana said Puglia, also known as Apulia, has the knowledge and tradition to become the national water policy benchmark. He noted that the region hosts the Puglia Aqueduct, the largest in Europe.
The route would go from Gjirokaster in Albania to the town of Galugnano, close to Lecce
Italy is situated opposite Albania, a country very rich in water, Fontana said, adding that the two countries have exceptionally close relations. It is an opportunity to act preventively when it comes to the water crisis and to build an impressive water infrastructure facility under the Adriatic Sea, he stressed.
The pipeline would consist of an underwater section of 85 kilometers and a land section of 120 kilometers, while the route would go from Gjirokaster to the town of Galugnano, close to Lecce. The system would connect a country rich in water resources with a region that has has always depended on neighboring areas for water supply.
It would take four years for the construction of the water supply pipeline
The construction is estimated to last four years. The new facility would be connected to the 20,000-kilometer Puglia Aqueduct water network. The goal, as reported by local media, is to transport 150 million cubic meters of water per year. The deepest section would be 850 meters below sea level.
The funding should be provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Italy’s government, the Region of Puglia and its public water supply utility Acquedotto Pugliese.
Italy’s interest is clear, and the Albanian side could expect 8,000 new jobs.